The much talk about and profitable trading in cryptocurrencies has met dead end as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe stopped local banks from trading or processing their payments.
The apex bank Governor, Mr. John Mangudya, said on Monday in Harare that the central bank had not licensed anyone to trade in cryptocurrencies and that dealers and investors did not have the protection of the law.
Cryptocurrency such as bitcoins is a digital or virtual currency in which coded techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds.
It operates independently of a country’s central bank.
Mangudya said that the Reserve Bank had directed all banking institutions not to provide banking services to facilitate any person or entity in dealing with or settling virtual (crypto) currencies.
“The nature of cryptocurrency transactions makes them the currency of choice for money launderers and other criminals,” Mangudya said in a statement.
Prices of digital currencies such as bitcoin rocketed at the end of last year as retail investors across the globe scrambled to get a piece of the profits.
That trend triggered regulatory warnings and threats to crack down on the market.
Officials from Golix and Styx24.com, Zimbabwe’s trading platform could not immediately comment on the central bank decision.
Zimbabwe said the ban would affect settlements between exchanges but sales between individuals would not be impacted.
“We can sit over a cup of coffee and transfer cryptos among ourselves. The entire logic of crypto is peer to peer transaction without trusted third parties,” said the insider, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
In the southern African nation, those who trade in bitcoin say it offers rare protection as their bank deposits lose value almost by the day while others use it to fund family members studying abroad or purchase goods online.
South Korea regulators have declared that it will ban the use of anonymous bank accounts in cryptocurrency trading from Jan. 30, regulators said on Tuesday.
It is a widely telegraphed move designed to stop virtual coins from being used for money laundering and other crimes.
Local cryptocurrency traders will not be allowed to make deposits into their virtual currency exchange wallets unless the names on their bank accounts matches the account name in cryptocurrency exchanges, Kim Yong-beom, the Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Commission told a news conference in Seoul.
Tuesday’s announcement follows a string of warnings from global policy makers about cryptocurrency trading, including those from South Korea’s chief financial regulator last week who said the government might consider shutting down domestic virtual currency exchanges.
The regulator has previously said it would come up with detailed guidelines for local banks to properly identify its clients by their real names in cryptocurrency transactions.
To make deposits into virtual coin wallets, cryptocurrency traders will need to identify themselves with their real names at the exchange and have those matched with information at local banks by Jan. 30.
According to Bithumb, the country’s second-largest virtual currency exchange, the bitcoin price in South Korea was down 4.35 per cent at $12,567 (8,987.34 pounds) from previous day as of 0214 GMT on Tuesday.
Bitcoin is trading up 3.7 per cent at 10,750 dollars on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.
The South Korean government on Thursday though Justice Minister Perk Sang-KI said it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading.
The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymaker around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value skyrocketed in 2017.
Sang-ki said the government is preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.
“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” said Park at a press conference, according to the ministry’s press office.
A press official said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after “enough discussion” with other government agencies including the nation’s finance ministry and financial regulators.
Once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years.
The government’s tough stance triggered a selloff of the cyrptocurrency on both local and offshore exchanges.
The local price of bitcoin plunged as much as 21 per cent in midday trade to 18.3 million won (12,638.52 pounds) after the minister’s